Hand-Wringing from Utah: Rattlesnake Invasion

A story of a kid who got bitten by a snake and suffered mild symptoms:

After suffering attack, young boy's family warns of rattlesnake dangers | ksl.com:

"9-year-old Tyler Perry was looking on July 13 for a pheasant that had escaped its pen in his family's back yard in Grantsville, and he found a hole — the opening of an old irrigation pipe just beyond a fence.

"I bent down to look for the pheasant in the hole and I got bit by a rattlesnake," Perry told KSL."

All this talk of snakes invading "neighborhoods" strikes me as bizarre. In the video report, I'm seeing hills, brush country, horses in a corral. If your "neighborhood" is the country, can you really be surprised about finding wildlife in it? 

In another report, the same station mentions that rattlesnake sightings have been unusually frequent this year:

Rattlesnake sightings abound in Layton foothills | ksl.com

"Animal Control officers say the number of complaints for the dangerous reptiles is way up this year. According to experts, a number of factors could be the cause, including the heat, wildfires, and even a very wet spring last year. Either way, 2012 is shaping up to be the biggest year for snake activity in northern Utah in a long time."

I really doubt these "reporters" have the records to prove that last claim. However, as mentioned in The Red Hourglass, animal populations do run in cycles influenced by the weather. 


  1. I tend to agree. If you live in Alaska, you get moose and brown bears; in Churchill, Manitoba, you get polar bears; in Newfoundland, you get giant squid. And as any damn fool who's seen a Western knows, if you live in the country, in the West, you get rattlesnakes. It never fails to strike me as bizarre that for a nation of people who claim to be such rugged outdoorsy types, we're the biggest whiners on earth about inconvenient wildlife--as opposed to South Africans and Australians, both of whom live in well-developed countries crawling with seriously dangerous animals, and seem to take it mostly in stride.

  2. A sense of entitlement, I fear--as in, we're entitled to a perfectly safe environment.

  3. Common sense should dictate that small prey animals move closer into the cities when there is a shortage of natural resources due to the weather. More than half this country is in a severe drought right now and people in populated areas water gardens, wash their cars...they create a water source which draws insects and their predators. Of course when you see an increase of insect and rodent activity there is always the potential to see their hunters. When I was young we were taught to be cautious when approaching places where snakes might hide to escape the heat of the day or where they might choose to hunt in the evening. On the farm I grew up on there have been many Rattlers and Cottonmouths and never once did we get bitten. People need to be informed on how to coexist with nature rather than living in fear or blundering into potentially dangerous situations because they just don't have a clue. Sensationalist reporting is a huge part of the problem conservationists face. Articles like this makes me wonder whatever happened to trustworthy news reporters. (Dee)

    1. Were news reporters ever trustworthy? :O

  4. I agree. People should learn about their environments and how to live in them. TV news seems to focus on fear, not information.

  5. I was raised in the country, and I was taught to be wary of rattle snakes. I had some very close calls with them when I was young. We now live in a suburb area outside of town and we have had several bull snakes in our house, I don't know how they get in but they go out in a dead state! They are invading my territory when they get in my house!

  6. Lest any non-herpers be unfamiliar with bullsnakes: bullsnakes are large, completely harmless snakes that produce a loud hiss reminiscent to some of a snorting bull (or Darth Vader, to my ears) and will rear and put on an impressive display when cornered. The presence of a bullsnake in a house is generally due to its having followed a rat or mouse in through the foundation. Bullsnakes are fairly popular pets and as educational animals--and in many parts of their range are legally protected from wanton killing.

  7. Reminds me of the crocodile "problem" down here. People urges the government to fix the "invasion", but if anyone is invading is humans. Crocodiles are the ones who should complain about dangerous beasts swimming in their pools.


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